Here are some notes on p2p to accompany this post by Dave Winer on the next steps towards pushing bittorrent adoption.
Perhaps p2p would work best for most kinds of group transferring on the internet, and right now, the best examples out there to help show off the value/worth - the obvious spokesperson - is the regular personal publisher of media files, or, podcasters and videoblogs. These kinds of new media people have reoccurring audiences that come and download the media all at the same time, literally; whenever there is an RSS update, within minutes, computers begin to automatically retrieve the media files and appear all at once.
With Rocketboom for example, as with any blog pretty much, the moment we release a video each morning, we get a big spike because everyone is automatically jumping in on the downloads:
So once we have everyone who uses RSS using p2p too, they will enjoy the best d/l experience because they will be there with the most seeds; it will be the fastest and most efficient time. While you may know this already, and I certainly have been talking out loud about it for about 2 years, it makes a very big, very outstanding difference when we are talking about 40 terabytes a month. For us, stuck with the burden of a major bandwidth bill, costing more money theoretically to burst at 9am per gig then at 10pm per gig even, if everyone used p2p we would instead have this:
It may look messy, but this p2p/rss situation would mean that the audience would take care of the spike themselves while being more efficient for themselves. This obviously cuts off strife for us.
So, here are a few obstacles right now to add to the table.
How/Where do content creators like myself host torrents? It's still a real bitch to install on the server. I have had some luck before with blogtorrent last year but it was too much of a resource hog and crashed regularly. It needs to be developed still.
We use Prodigem, and have everything automated perfectly. I never do a single thing to publish the torrent each day. Once I hit post on our Moveable Type entry, MT updates our xml bittorrent page. A script that resides on my .edu server checks every hour and then pulls the new video onto prodigem's server with an API, then Prodigem seeds it and in turn updates our public torrent xml feed. Whew!! There are many pieces to that chain. Point being, its not easy at all for people to publish torrents on their own. You can sign up for an account at Prodigem and its great, but its not home. There is no other blog plugin, API, etc that I know of without coding up some soup on your own server.
Because it seems the industry never gets excited until the dollar signs go off and then actually appear, there is a big side to the economy of p2p which is making the ding-dings go off in my brain prematurely; this is better than buying 31 cents stamps and selling them for 32 cents:
Rocketboom is amazing because it does not cost much to make. As our business scales up, aside from salary/support staff, our entire business model must mostly account for the bandwidth; as we grow, our costs grow. With p2p in the business model, of course, the more people that subscribe, or rather, the more people we must work to take care of, the more we get a business model that works like this:
Am I correct in calling the topic at this level "peer-to-peer" instead of Bittorent Inc.? Though open source, the name brand and a protocol are by the inspired Bram Cohen, copyright 2001-2006. All rights reserved. BitTorrent, the BitTorrent Logo, and Torrent are trademarks of Bram's. Microsoft is using something not called bittorrent I believe. There is metacast, swarmcast, and many other brands or varieties.
There is one answer to only have people use torrent enclosures. That is to _only_ publish torrent enclosures. This is what I do on Ambisonicbootlegs.net. If people want that content, then they have to install bittorrent. That is not so good for the users right now, but when bittorent is built into firefox et al. then things will start flying.
Currently, I run my own torrent tracker wich is actually quite easy (but requires minimal server skills). As of quite recently it is also possible to run torrents _without_ a tracker. This means that anyone should be able to publish a torrent without relying on some server somewhere to index (or track) all the different bits. I think this is what people should be looking at.
My server sits on my home computer, with a 128kb/s upload connection and I still get gigabits and gigabits of really fast downloads. The only issue I have is that the first downloads are slow (until the load comes off my server... and is taken by other peers). But I can attest that the system is quite revolutionary! Its all about utter empowerment of the individual...
You could always post the torrent an hour or two earlier in order to encourage others to use bittorrent instead of downloading the video directly from Rocketboom. Without proper incentive, very few people will choose the option that requires extra steps.